Home » Culture and History

Former Beatle Set to Play Moscow Music Festival

22. March 2010 by Gregg 0 Comments

Pete Best, one of the early members of the Beatles and Ringo Starr’s predecessor on the drum throne was largely regarded as a footnote in music history until the ‘90s when a selection of Beatles anthologies were released including older demos and recordings that exposed the drummer to the national attention he never received due to leaving the band before they broke out.

Now a much more high-profile musician and bandleader of the Pete Best Group, the 68 year old musician is set to headline the “Best of the Beatles” festival, to be held at Moscow’s B1 Maximum facility. While not in the group when they recorded their famous song “Back in the USSR”, the event is significant as the Fab Four never made it to the Soviet Union, despite spending a large amount of time in Hamburg just a few miles from the Russian-controlled area of Germany during their early days. The group’s music was famously decried by First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev who worried about the band’s influence on youth culture, claiming that “It's just a small step from saxophones to switchblades". The group wasn’t officially banned but very hard to get ahold of. Their recordings thrived in underground youth culture and on the black market.

The Beatles’ influence on Russian culture was so widespread that they even inspired the word “Beatlyi”, used to describe all things pertaining to the band. Soviet youth were known to form Beatles cover bands, building electric guitars and their own bass guitars as only traditional Russian folk instruments were readily available, and playing their heroes’ songs in secret. Current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin even confirmed that he himself was a Beatles fan as a youth and invited Paul McCartney to sing at the Kremlin, an honor that the Beatles Bassist accepted in 2003.

The Best of the Beatles is set to feature Beatles cover bands from many different countries and many different age groups. Best’s band plays not only their old material but also Beatles tunes. Russian Beatles cover bands set to play the festival include the Dans Rambler and The Beatween.